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With slow, faint steps, and much exceeding pain,
While I spake then, a sting of shrewdest pain
cense. Ah! let me not be fool'd, sweet saints: I trust That I am whole, and clean, and meet for Heaven.
Speak, if there be a priest, a man of God,
But thou, O Lord,
'Twere well to question him, and try
If yet he keeps the power.
Broad Oak of Sumner-chace,
The roofs of Sumner-place!
If ever maid or spouse,
To rest beneath thy boughs.-
Whatever maiden grace
Made ripe in Sumner-chace: “Old Summers, when the monk was fat,
Aud, issuing shorn and sleek, Would twist his girdle tight, and pat
The girls upon the cheek,
“Ere yet, in scorn-of Peter's-pence,
And number'd bead and shrift, Bluff Harry broke into the spence,
And turn'd the covls adrift:
“And I have seen some score of those
Fresh faces that would thrive When his man-minded offset rose
To chase the deer at five;
“And all that from the town would stroll,
Till that wild wind made work In which the gloomy brewer's soul
Went by me, like a stork:
“The slight she-slips of loyal blood,
And others, passing praise, Strait-laced, but all-too-full in bud
For puritanic stays:
"And I have shadow'd many a group
of beauties that were born In teacup-times of hood and hoop,
Or while the patch was worn ;
THE TALKING OAK. ONCE more the gate behind me falls;
Once more before my face
That stand within the chace.
“And, leg and arm with love-knots gay,
About me leap'd and laugh'd The modish Cupid of the day,
And shrill'd his tinsel shaft.
“I swear (and else may insects prick
Each leaf into a gall) This girl, for whom your heart is sick,
Is three times worth them all; “For those and theirs, by Nature's law,
Have faded long ago;
Your own Olivia blow,
Beyond the lodge the city lies,
Beneath its drift of smoke ;
I turn to yonder oak.
Ere that, which in me burn'd,
Could hope itself return'd;
I spoke without restraint,
Than Papist unto Saint.
And told him of my choice,
And answer'd with a voice. Tho' what he whisper'd, under Heaven
None else could understand;
A babbler in the land.
Is many a weary hour;
“From when she gamboll'd on the greets,
A baby-germ, to when
Could number five from ten.
(And hear me with thine ears,) That, tho' I circle in the grain
Five hundred rings of years
“Yet, since I first could cast a shade,
Did never creature pass So slightly, musically made,
So light upon the grass :
"For as to fairies, that will flit
To make the greensward fresh,
The murmurs of the drum and fife,
And lull'd them iu my own.
Nor ever lightning char thy grain,
But, rolling as in sleep, Low thunders bring the mellow rain,
That makes thee broad and deep!
“Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip,
To light her shaded eye; A second flutter'd round her lip
Like a golden butterfly;
And hear me swear a solemn oath,
That only by thy side
And gain her for my bride.
“A third wonld glimmer ou her neck
To make the necklace shine; Another slid, a sunny fleck,
From head to ankle tine.
* Then close and dark my arms I spread,
And shadow'd all her rest
An acorn in her breast.
" But in a pet she started up,
And pluck'd it out, and drew My little oakling from the cup,
And flung him in the dew.
And when my marriage morn may fall,
She, Dryad-like, shall wear Alternate leaf and acorn-ball
In wreath about her hair. And I will work in prose and rhyme,
And praise thee more in both
Or that Thessalian growth,
And mystic sentence spoke ;
Thy famous brother-oak,
Till all the paths were dim,
And bumm'd a surly hymn.
“And yet it was a graceful gift
I felt a pang within As when I see the woodman lift
His axe to slay my kin.
"I shook him down because he was
The finest on the tree.
O kiss him once for me.
"O kiss him twice and thrice for me,
That have no lips to kiss, For never yet was oak on lea
Shall grow so fair as this."
Step deeper yet in herb and fern,
Look further thro' the chace, Spread upward till thy boughs discern
The front of Sumner-place.
This fruit of thine by Love is blest,
That but a moment lay Where fairer fruit of Love may rest
Some happy future day.
I kiss it twice, I kiss it thrice,
The warmth it thence shall win To riper life may magnetize
The baby-oak within.
But thou, while kingdoms overset
Or lapse from hand to hand, Thy leaf shall never fail, nor yet
Thine acorn in the land.
LOVE AND DUTY.
Shall Error in the round of time
If this were thus, if this, indeed, were all,
Will some one say, then why not ill for good
-So let me think 't is well for thee and me-
May never saw dismember thee,
Nor wielded axe disjoint, That art the fairest-spoken tree
From here to Lizard-point.
O rock upon thy towery top
All throats that gurgle sweet! All starry culmination drop
Balm-dews to bathe thy feet !
All grass of silky feather grow
And while he sinks or swells 'The full south-breeze around thee blow
The sound of minster bells.
The fat earth feed thy branchy root,
That under deeply strikes ! The northern morning o'er thee shoot,
High up, in silver spikes !
For Love himself took part against himself That float about the threshold of an age, To warn us off, and Duty loved of Love
Like truths of Science waiting to be caughtO this world's curse,-beloved but hated-came Catch me who can, and make the catcher crown'd Like Death betwixt thy dear embrace and mine, Are taken by the forelock. Let it be. And crying, Who is this ? behold thy bride," But if you care indeed to listen, hear She push'd me from thee.
These measured words, my work of yestermorn. If the sense is hard
“We sleep and wake and sleep, but all things To alien ears, I did not speak to these
move: No, not to thee, but to myself in thee :
The Sun flies forward to his brother Sun; Hard is my doom and thine: thou knowest it all. The dark Earth follows wheel'd in her ellipse ;
Could Love part thus ? was it not well to speak, And human things returning on themselves To have spoken once? It could not but be well. Move onward, leading up the golden year. The slow sweet hours that bring us all things good, “Ah, tho' the times, when some new thought can The slow sad hours that bring us all things ill,
bud, And all good things from evil, brought the night Are but as poets' seasons when they flower, In which we sat together and alone,
Yet seas, that daily gain upon the shore, And to the want, that hollow'd all the heart, Have ebb and flow conditioning their march, Gave utterance by the yearning of an eye,
And slow and sure comes up the golden year. That burn'd upon its object thro' such tears
“When wealth no more shall rest in mounded As flow but once a life.
heaps, The trance gave way But smit with freör light shall slowly melt To those caresses, when a hundred times
In many streams to fatten lower lands, In that last kiss, which never was the last,
And light shall spread, and man be liker man Farewell, like endless welcome, lived and died. Thro' all the season of the golden year. Then follow'd counsel, comfort, and the words
“Shall eagles not be eagles ? wrens be wrens ? That make a man feel strong in speaking truth ; If all the world were falcons, what of that? Till now the dark was worn, and overhead
The wonder of the eagle were the less, T'he lights of sunset and of sunrise mix'd
But he not less the eagle. Happy days In that brief night; the summer night, that paused Roll onward, leading up the golden year. Among her stars to hear us; stars that hung
"Fly, happy happy sails and bear the Press; Love-charm'd to listen : all the wheels of Time Fly, happy with the mission of the Cross; Spon round in station, but the end had come. Knit land to land, and blowing havenward
O then like those, who clench their nerves to rush With silks, and fruits, and spices, clear of toll, Upon their dissolution, we two rose,
Enrich the markets of the golden year. There-closing like an individual life
"But we grow old. Ah! when shall all men's In one blind cry of passion and of pain,
good Like bitter accusation ev'n to death,
Be each man's rule, and universal Peace Caught up the whole of love and utter'd it,
Lie like a shaft of light across the land,
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
Thro' all the circle of the golden year!"
Thus far he flowed, and ended; whereapon Life needs for life is possible to will
“Ah, folly !" in mimic cadence answer'd JamesLive happy; tend thy flowers; be tended by “Ah, folly! for it lies so far away, My blessing! Should my Shadow cross thy thoughts Not in our time, nor in our children's time, Too sadly for their peace, remand it thou
'T is like the second world to us that live; For calmer hours to Memory's darkest hold, 'T were all as one to fix our hopes on Heaven If not to be forgotten—not at once
As on this vision of the golden year.” Not all forgotten. Should it cross thy dreams, With that he struck his staff against the rocks O might it come like one that looks content, And broke it, -James,-you know him,-old, but full With quiet eyes unfaithful to the truth,
or force and choler, and firm upon his feet, And point thee forward to a distant light,
And like an oaken stock in winter woods,
O'erflourish'd with the hoary clematis :
" What stuff is this!
You most, that in an age, when every hour
Upon the teeming harvest, should not dip
His hand into the bag: but well I know
That unto him who works, and feels he works, Well, you shall have that song which Leonard This same grand year is ever at the doors." wrote:
He spoke ; and, high above, I heard them blast It pas last summer on a tour in Wales :
The steep slate-quarry, and the great echo flap Od James was with me: we that day had been
And buffet round the hills from bluff to bluff.
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags, That, setting the how much before the how,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
To which “They call me what they will," he said : I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those In offices of tenderness, and pay
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
There lies the port: the vessel puffs her sail: For always roaming with a hungry heart
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, Much have I seen and known; cities of men Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought And manners, climates, councils, governments,
with me Myself bot least, but honor'd of them all;
That ever with a frolic welcome took
Free hearts, free foreheads--you and I are old; 'I am a part of all that I have met ;)
Old age bath.yet his honor and his toil; Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Death closes all: but something ere the end, Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades Some work of noble note, may yet be done, » Forever and forever when I move.,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks : To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
deep Were all too little, and of one to me
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friend, Little remains : but every hour is saved
'T is not too late to seek a newer world. From that eternal silence, something more,
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle
Tho' much is taken, much abides ; and tho' Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
We are not now that strength which in old days This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
are ; Subdue them to the useful and the good.
One equal temper, of heroic hearts, Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will Of common duties, decent not to fail
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.